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Court fines Hamza Rs100,000 for not responding to pleas challenging his election

The PML-N leader faced several delays in assuming charge of the CM Office because of then Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema's refusal to administer his oath.

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The Lahore Court has fined Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and the Punjab government Rs100,000 each for not submitting their responses to petitions challenging his election.

The court has issued notices to Hamza, Punjab chief secretary, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari, Punjab governor’s principal secretary, and Punjab Assembly’s secretary at the previous hearing on Friday.

During the hearing, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti said that adhering to court orders was mandatory. Hence, he fined the respondents.

Hamza’s counsel requested that the court grant them time to submit the responses.

But the PML-Q’s lawyer objected that the matter shouldn’t be delayed any further. He contended that Punjab was functioning without a cabinet, and the province was undergoing a constitutional crisis.

Read more: Hamza Shehbaz finally takes oath as Punjab Chief Minister

However, Justice Bhatti said the case couldn’t proceed without listening to the respondents’ arguments. “Once the responses are submitted, we will hear the case daily.”

The hearing was then adjourned till May 30.

On April 16, Hamza was elected CM Punjab with 197 votes, 11 more than the required 186. That included votes from 25 dissident PTI MPAs crucial for his victory.

The PML-N leader faced several delays in assuming charge of the CM Office because of then Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema’s refusal to administer his oath.

Hamza approached the LHC thrice, seeking directions for administering his oath. He was finally sworn in on April 30 by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

The petition was filed by PTI MPAs Mohammad Sibtain Khan, Zainab Umair, Mian Mohammad Aslam Iqbal, Syed Abbas Ali Shah, and Ahsan Saleem Baryar.

It started that the election was held amid “immense chaos and most unfortunate events,” adding that Deputy Speaker Mazari took “unlawful” aid from the police and provincial officials for holding the fraudulent election.

Read more: Court extends interim bail of PM Shehbaz, CM Hamza

It noted that there finally tally for Hamza included the vote of 25 dissident PTI MPAs. Hamza was administered the oath due to “judicial overreach” as the then Governor Omar Cheema had refused to accept the election result.